The Care of Others

In my family, as I’m sure in many of yours, there is more than one person who needs help to survive.  One of my family members lives alone, but has aides and PTs and nurses always coming in and out.  My other family member lives with us, but is more independent and able to get around than the other.  The first is female, the second male.

I’m not going to get into healthcare or any of those big, annoying, boring issues.  As (of course) my focus here is on paganism, let us bring another issue to the table: the care of others.

Is it my responsibility as a human being to take care of those people who have need in m life?  Absolutely.  BUT, let us refer to the rede; “An it harm none, do what ye will”.  In the case of one of my family members, she is able to walk.  The only thing missing is her toes on one side.  She just fell apart when they were removed (probably 10 years ago” and transformed from a loving, caring nurse, to a co-dependent, handicapped older woman.

We are always trying to get her back into life.  We encourage her to walk, to get out of the house, but she doesn’t have a lot of opportunity for the second, and the first is difficult.  Its much easier for her to use a walker or be wheelchair bound, like she is most of the time.  So, she lives fifteen minutes away, and she calls, and we pick up medicine for her.  We take her once a week grocery shopping.  Sometimes, we eat with her.  But, my parents work7-3 jobs, and I always have things I need to do – I have an internship, freelance web design jobs, or I’m away at college.

I am not saying that we should stop doing these things with her – the bottom line is that she is not able to transport herself to the store.  But, to what extent should our care be going?  Is our help to her really aiding her spiritually?  It seems to us like she’s not trying to improve her own situation.

My second relative, who lives with us, has congenital heart failure, and just had a pacemaker put in.  He is, unfortunately, well past obese, diabetic, Parkinson’s, the works.  He is trying to improve his living conditions.  Thankfully, he is also a veteran – so they foot his bills.  He just asked me to buy him a cheeseburger….

Do you buy someone on a no-salt diet a cheeseburger?

There are certain responsibilities in life which we all have to have.  Caring for our elders, and for our children, are the ones which are almost guaranteed to come up.  But, as a pagan in a non-pagan household, family, world; how can I explain to those I care for that change needs to happen?  We are bound to help others advance spiritually.  If I allow for the stagnant to continue, how can I cause the change?

And these…these are the questions that makes one a witch.   Whenever a question arises, we must return to the documents that bind us.  In this case, the appropriate one is my oath from my initiation… (excerpt)

Where possible, I will work to ease pain and promote growth. In all things I will strive to do no harm lest it be in the defense of the helpless, the innocent, myself, my coven or my family. To these ends, I will put aside fear for courage, death for life, and life for death when it is right and necessary to do so, from now until the end.

Pretty strong words, huh?

I hope my discussion of the issue – if it is one you have, have had, or will have – has caused questions, thoughts and ideas.  It seems my answer was right there, all along…”Ease pain.  Promote growth.”

Merry part and happy new year!

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